Diary 3 Tuesday June 1st 2010
Another very satisfying day. We were lucky we had a late start and met Nelu and Cristina from Fundatia Increderea. With them we went to visit 5 needy pensioners taking a food parcel – all of these pensioners were new to us, but came to FI as a result of the distribution they organised after the last aid consignment. They said how many of the pensioners had wept on being told they need not pay and could have the aid for nothing. Cristina explained they allowed each pensioner to select 10 items of clothing and one or two items of bedding as well as 5 toiletries. As a result they now have contacts with some very needy pensioners.
Our first visit was to an elderly diabetic woman who was bed-ridden. She is cared for by her son-in-law and has been since his wife (the old woman’s daughter) died 4 years ago. The old woman was amazingly cheerful and bright, she can hardly see or cannot walk – clearly appreciated our visit and asked if we could possibly help with incontinence pads.
Our next visit was to a woman living illegally in a one room apartment with a communal toilet and no electricity. Her pension is only £25 a month. Her son has recently been released from prison having served a long sentence for man slaughter and she is trying to help him and showed us the pancakes she had cooked for him. She had received some saucepans from Mustard Seed which she proudly showed us. Like all the pensioners she showed her ID card to Cristina and signed a document to confirm she received the food parcel and would not sell it. It is hard to know how she will manage if her meagre pension is cut by a further 15%.
The next pensioner seemed in a better condition, bright and cheerful living in a one room apartment again with a communal toilet but living there officially.
The fourth visit was to a much younger woman who was a medical pensioner and has some problem with her back, her pension is in the region of £50 a month. Her 20 year old daughter is handicapped; but she receives no pension for the daughter as the doctor would charge several hundred euros to provide the paperwork. Her husband died 4 years ago – he needed an amputation for gangrene in his legs but because they could not afford to pay or bribe the surgeon he refused to operate and the man died. The woman dissolved into tears as we asked her about her background. It was a very sad visit and really shocked us to think the man died because of lack of money to bribe the surgeon.
Our final visit was to sweet old lady who lived with her daughter who was also sufficiently elderly to receive an old age pension. The old woman is diabetic and has other problems – almost all their pensions are used on her medicine – she takes 34 tablets in the morning and 32 at night. Although they only had their pensions last week they had used them all for medicine and utilities and rent except for 10 lei which is sufficient to buy bread every other day till the next pension – so our food parcel was very very welcome.
After that we had lunch and discussed the various pensioners on the sponsorship programme and the priority needs. Nelu’s health is much better and we hope and pray the treatment for his hepatitis continues to be effective.
As it was not late when we left them Phil and I went shopping for the girls on the Nicu’s Girls project. I was surprised at the cost of toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and shampoo – more expensive than at home where a week’s salary is less than a month’s salary here! We contacted Mia and met her at the MacDrive, where we all ate – it was clearly a real treat for her to eat out like that. Then we took the shopping back to the apartment and the joy and delight at what we had bought was really moving. Where else would you see young women with tears of joy in their eyes on being given a tube of toothpaste and a tin of tuna fish?